EUREKA! The Best Pancake Recipe Ever. Guys, I’m not even kidding when I say I’ve been looking for this buttermilk pancake recipe for my entire life. They are fluffy, crispy on the edges, tender in the middle, and completely stackable. The search is over!! Originally posted March 10, 2016.

A stack of pancakes covered in butter and syrup.
Table of Contents
  1. Get ready for the BEST Pancakes EVER
  2. Homemade Pancakes ingredients
  3. What is the secret to making the best Pancakes?
  4. How to make Pancakes
  5. How to get crispy edges on your pancakes
  6. How to serve the Best Pancakes ever
  7. How to store, freeze, and reheat Pancakes
  8. Fluffy Pancake Recipe FAQs
  9. More Pancake recipes you’ll love!
  10. More amazing sweet breakfast recipes:
  11. Best Pancakes I’ve Ever Made Recipe

Get ready for the BEST Pancakes EVER

Other people have late-night pizza cravings; I have late night pancake cravings. Seriously, I am the one going to IHOP at 10pm because I need to get myself a stack. I love pancakes like a fat kid loves cake. You want to know the sad part?

I’m TERRIBLE at making pancakes. Seriously, I have tried a dozen recipes probably. No matter what I do they always turn out rubbery or flat or gummy (ugh, that’s the worst) or just plain flavorless. I am a chronic over-beater, it’s an addiction. I have some great specialty pancake recipes (Like these Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Syrup or these Banana Macadamia Pancakes with Coconut Syrup), but I had yet to find a good everyday recipe for when I want straight up, no fuss, buttermilk heaven.

A few weeks ago my friend Courtney over at Neighborfood posted her Top 15 Favorite Family Recipes. I have a special place in my heart for Courtney because she was one of the first bloggers to start reading The Food Charlatan, back when it was just me myself and my computer. She introduced me to our food blogging community. Plus her blog is totally amazing. Check out these Lemon Rosemary Melting Potatoes she just posted. What?? I’m nabbing that recipe next Courtney!!!

Anyway, back to her Top 15 post. The first recipe on the list was for these Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes. I decided to give them a go because every time someone tells me they have a favorite pancake recipe I try it…but then I usually mess them up. Don’t get me wrong, the recipes are fine. I’m just a terrible pancake maker (and an even worse pancake flipper, but that’s a whole other story).

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Delicious pancakes with syrup, strawberries, and butter on top, showing a stack of pancakes with a slice missing.

Anyway. So I tried Courtney’s recipe. AND THEY WERE AMAZING. I thought it had to be a fluke (I’m a pancake charlatan, after all) so I made them again. AMAZING. I made them a 3rd time to do this photo shoot and do you see that stack? I ate all of it.

Okay I’m totally lying, the kids and I all shared it (what else are you going to do with a giant stack of pancakes totally soaked in syrup from all the pour shots I tried to get? Life’s tough.).

Homemade Pancakes ingredients

Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!

  • Butter. I use salted butter, but unsalted is fine too.
  • All purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Buttermilk (yes, you can substitute milk mixed with a little vinegar, but try to get your hands on some actual buttermilk!! Are you making the best pancakes or not?)
  • Eggs
  • Bacon grease!!! Or butter is fine too.
  • Milk (preferably whole milk)

That last ingredient brings up a good question, which is:

Should I use baking soda or baking powder in pancakes?

Yes. Ha!

Okay, generally, you want to use baking powder for run-of-the-mill pancakes as baking soda only activates with an acid like that found in buttermilk. But we have buttermilk, so we’re using both leavening agents. The double guns of both baking powder and baking soda (activated by the buttermilk) makes for a fluffy bed of heaven, waiting for a syrupy covering!

What kind of flour is best for pancakes?

I definitely recommend using regular old all-purpose flour. It creates the perfect light and fluffy texture! And I wouldn’t want anything getting in the way of that.

In theory, you could use whole wheat flour, but the measurement may not be quite the same and your pancakes will be much more dense. Bread flour is a definite no: the extra protein in bread flour creates a great chewy texture for pizza or french bread but makes pancakes tough. 

A stack of syrup covered pancake slices lined up on a fork.

Should I use milk or water for pancakes?

Milk. Definitely milk! Not only does it add flavor, the milk fat makes the pancakes much more rich and tender. Instant pancake mixes have dumbed down pancakes to the point that they often use powdered milk in their dry mix (and call for the user to add water, because hello easy.) But now we’ve got a whole generation of people who think water goes in real pancakes. NOPE.

What is the secret to making the best Pancakes?

Here’s how it’s done my friends, the grand secret: A separated egg. You don’t have to whip the egg whites or anything, just beat them with a fork for 30 seconds or so.

A hand separating the egg white from  the egg yolk.

This 30 second step gives your egg white some space from the yolk, and time to shine. Beating the whites breaks up all the protein, so instead of stringy gloopy whites holding together in your pancake batter, it is beaten until bubbly and helps each pancake rise into perfectly fluffy little cakes when being cooked. Magical, right?? I just love that the secret is something SO EASY!

How to make Pancakes

Before diving into the detailed step, each of which are covered in the recipe, here’s a quick overview:

  1. Combine the wet and dry ingredients separately.
  2. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the wet ingredients.
  3. Whisk the whites and set aside.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and DON’T OVER STIR! (See below.)
  5. THEN add the whisked egg white to the mixture.
  6. THEN love your pancakes!
Flour & egg white streaks in pancake batter showing how to make fluffy pancakes.

How to get crispy edges on your pancakes

Can I tell you the other little secret about this recipe?

Melting bacon grease on the griddle or pan showing how to fry pancakes in bacon grease.

That’s right. I’m busting out the BACON GREASE. I got the bacon-grease-for-pancake-frying tip from my mother-in-law. If you are not the kind of person who has a little jar of bacon grease in your fridge at all times (seriously, who ARE you?), then the solution is obvious. Make some bacon. Then use a pastry brush to get the grease onto your griddle. If you really don’t want to bother, butter will work fine, but I’m telling you, the bacon grease adds a hint of flavor (but not overpowering–they taste like pancakes, not bacon) and the BEST crispy edges. Mmm. And what are pancakes without a side of bacon anyway?

How thick should pancake batter be?

I feel like this is so easy to SHOW you, but so hard to TELL you. One of the many reasons I wish I could just have my readers here in my kitchen! But basically, it’s like this: you don’t want it to be so thin you can easily pour it, and you don’t want it to be so thick you can’t pour it at all. (Clear as mud, right?) When you scoop some of the batter onto the hot griddle, it should gently, slowly spread into a slightly larger circle than the one you poured. After you make this recipe a couple times, you’ll know exactly what I mean!

Pancakes stacked with butter on top and syrup running down the side and strawberries on the plate.

How to serve the Best Pancakes ever

Butter. Syrup. Side of bacon.

Or, be extra and go crazy with the toppings…

Best Pancake Recipe toppings

  • Strawberries, bananas, blueberries, basically any fruit is a win
  • Jam or jelly
  • Any fruit reduction syrup (cook fruit with a little sugar for a while)
  • Whipped cream
  • Peeled and cooked apples with cinnamon
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Toasted pecans or granola
  • Peanut butter and powdered sugar (I’m telling you guys!!)
  • Ice cream. My daughter is obsessed with doing this for her birthday breakfast, the only time of the year I will let her!
  • Melted chocolate or caramel. I mean right? Try the ganache from these Dark Chocolate Waffles.
  • Fried chicken (Why should waffles get all the love?)
Pancakes on griddle puffing up and bubbling around the edges.

How to store, freeze, and reheat Pancakes

No need to store leftover pancakes–you’ll never have any leftovers. Ever.

Okay, fine. Maybe you made a triple-batch.

  • Refrigeration: These pancakes do just fine stored in the fridge for a few days in a sealed container.
  • Freezing: Place your pancakes single-layered on a cookie sheet and freeze them for 20 minutes before putting them in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. They will keep for 2-3 months! (Or you can toss them in a ziplock all at once without flash freezing, and pry them apart when frozen, hoping they don’t break. I like to live on the wild side, people. Also, LAZY)
  • Reheating: reheating is so easy and delivers, yo. I personally feel you can’t beat warming them in a toaster or, even better, a toaster oven. I often toast them straight from frozen, just toast on a low setting twice in a row. You can also warm pancakes in the microwave on 50% power. Just don’t forget to love them as much as the first time!

And just for fun, here’s my photo set up. My stack looks like it’s about to fall!

Pancake photo shoot setup showing a large, leaning stack of pancakes with fruit and syrup and a glass of milk with a striped straw.

Fluffy Pancake Recipe FAQs

Why is my pancake not fluffy?

Your pancakes will be fluffy if you follow this recipe. Promise! I mean just look at this gorgeous rise. I’ll reiterate a few fluffy-guaranteeing points so you can see them all in a list:
Use milk, preferably whole or at least 2% ( you need the fat!)
Don’t over mix the wet and dry ingredients
Whisk the egg whites and add them last
Make sure an acid like buttermilk or a milk+vinegar substitute (see recipe notes) is used to activate your baking soda
Drop the batter onto the griddle only when it is very hot. Test it by sprinkling on some water droplets, they should immediately sizzle.

What can you put on pancakes other than syrup?

Anything you want! There isn’t a Pancake Topping Enforcement Squad; you get to do whatever you want here. Fruit, jam, yogurt, whipped cream, nuts, nut butter, chocolate, ice cream, you name it! See above for a list of other topping ideas.

How can I tell when my pancake is ready to flip?

The pancakes are ready to be flipped over when the edges start to set and you can see bubbles forming on the top. If you’re not 100% sure, you can slide your pancake turner under the edge and peek. We’re looking for light golden brown – if they’re pale and pasty, it’s not time yet.

What makes pancakes fluffy?

To get fluffy pancakes, you need to follow a few important steps.
Don’t over-mix the batter. Once it’s just barely combined, you’re ready to go. A few streaks of flour mean you’re doing it right.
Make sure your griddle is hot. 
Use milk instead of water (you need the fat for fluffy pancakes). 
Use acid to activate the baking soda. You can use buttermilk or “cheater buttermilk” which is milk combined with vinegar. 
Beat your egg whites separately. This way there won’t be any gloopy strands to weigh your pancakes down.

Can you make pancake batter the night before?

No way, don’t do it! The baking soda is activated as soon as you mix it into the batter, and it becomes less effective over time. Pancake batter doesn’t take long to mix up. If you want to have pancakes to quickly eat in the morning, save yourself even more time and freeze the cooked pancakes.

Fresh fluffy pancakes with crispy edges cooking on a griddle.

More Pancake recipes you’ll love!

More amazing sweet breakfast recipes:

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Best Pancakes I’ve Ever Made

4.83 from 148 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 18 pancakes
I've finally found the Best Pancakes Ever. They are fluffy, crispy on the edges, tender in the middle, and completely stackable. The search is over!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, melted and cooled
  • 2 & 1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda, see note
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, see note
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk, I used whole milk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • bacon grease, for frying (butter works too)

Instructions

  • Heat your oven to 170 degrees F, sometimes called the “keep warm” setting.
  • Get out 3 mixing bowls: large, medium, and small.
  • Add the butter to the large bowl and microwave until it is melted. Set aside to cool a little bit.
  • In the medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Add the buttermilk and milk to the melted butter.
  • Separate the eggs: add the whites to the small bowl and the yolks to the wet ingredients in the large bowl. Whisk in the yolks.
  • Use a small whisk of fork to beat the egg whites a little bit, just 20 seconds or so until they start getting a little bubbly. It will help them fold in evenly.
  • Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir roughly with a wooden spoon. Don’t overdo it! Just barely combine it. There should still be streaks for flour. See photos.
  • Beat the egg whites a little then add them to the batter. Fold in gently. It’s okay if there are still streaks of egg white.
  • Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium heat.
  • When it is hot, smear a little bacon grease over the griddle.
  • Scoop the batter using a half cup measurement.
  • When bubbles on top start to pop, flip the pancakes. They should be a nice golden brown.
  • Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until they are golden on both sides.
  • Remove the pancakes to a cooking rack and keep warm in the oven that you turned on.
  • Repeat with the remaining batter.
  • Serve with lots of butter and syrup. And peanut butter. What, am I the only one??

Notes

I have never tried substituting the buttermilk in this recipe with a milk/vinegar mixture. I don’t think you would get the same results. The best part about buttermilk is how THICK it is, and you’re not going to get that from souring your own milk. (I mean don’t get me wrong, you will still have pancakes at the end of the day, they just might not be the BEST pancakes.)
If you insist on making cheater buttermilk, use the highest fat milk you can get your hands on (whole milk is best. Half and half is better.) Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice to a glass measuring cup, then fill it to the 2 cup mark with milk or half and half. 
Baking soda/baking powder: There have been some comments that you can taste the baking soda in this recipe. I’ve never had an issue with the recipe as written, but if you are worried about it, try using 1 and 3/4 teaspoon EACH baking soda and baking powder. When I DOUBLE this recipe, I can taste baking soda. So for a doubled recipe, instead of using 4 teaspoons each baking soda and baking powder, use about 3 and 1/2 teaspoons each. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1pancake | Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 381mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 239IU | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Calories: 147
Keyword: Pancakes
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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Comments

  1. 1 star
    Thought I followed the recipe exactly as it said. When I added the buttermilk and milk to the butter, everything got lumpy and gross.

    1. Hi Mason, yes the butter will solidify. It’s no big deal! Make as instructed. I hope you didn’t throw it out! that would be so sad!

  2. 4 stars
    I loved the pancakes, as light and fluffy as any I have ever tasted! But I couldn’t t give it 5 stars because I had to reduce the amount of sodium, using only 1/4 tsp per cup of flour and also unsalted butter. I also used 1% milk and made my own buttermilk, but still the recipe stood up very well. While I was intrigued by the divided egg theory, I only went so far as to divide and lightly beat the egg white, but all the wet went in at the same time. Thank you for a recipe that will be my standard from now on.

  3. 1 star
    SCROLL THROUGH! NOT A GOOD RECIPE!
    Waste of eggs & flour and waste of time!
    I am sticking with my old recipe from the 80’s.
    MOST COMPLICATED RECIPE EVER!
    RUBBER PANCAKES!
    THREW ALOT OF WASTED JUNKY BATTER IN THE GARBAGE! OMG!

  4. I really liked the flavor of these! However I had some trouble and hoping you can help. The batter was so thick I couldn’t pour it, it would just be in a high mound in the pan. I ended up adding about 1/2 cup extra milk to the recipe (in addition to the other 1/2 cup milk) just to thin it enough to be able to pour it. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Also in the comment section you mention changing the baking powder & soda to 3/4 teaspoon, but in the notes you say 1 3/4 teaspoon. I used 3/4 but I wasn’t sure what was correct.

    Also, even at medium heat when I’d put butter in the pan it would burn and turn brown right away. Do you have any tips on this? I’m sure the bacon grease would work better!

    1. Hi Dee! Thanks so much for commenting. Let’s see if we can answer your questions:
      1. If your batter is too thick, I recommend using the “fluff and scoop” method of measuring flour. You fluff the flour with a spoon, scoop it into the measuring cup, and then gently level off the top. This method ensures you don’t have too much flour (although your method of adding a little more milk works too!).
      2. I can see where you were confused about the 3/4 tsp mentioned in the comments section…that was actually a different Karen leaving a comment on the recipe, not Karen, The Food Charlatan. The 1 3/4 is correct.
      3. Every stove is different. If your butter is immediately browning at medium heat, you can certainly turn the heat down a little (also, browned but not burned butter is delicious). Or of course, bacon grease is always a great option!
      Hope your next batch of pancakes turns out perfectly Dee :-)

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING! I didn’t have buttermilk but subbed in an equal amount of plain whole fat yogurt mixed with a little whipping cream and whole milk to loosen it(measured in liquid measuring cup) and added in a dash of vanilla extract! Came out perfect! Thank you

  6. Really good recipe but just a little too much baking powder. You can taste it in the pancake after it’s cooked. I’m definitely saving this but I suggest trying 3/4 tsp of powder to see if that fixes the slightly bitter taste of the powder.

    1. Hey Karen, thanks for this feedback! I’ve never noticed this in a single batch BUT, when I make a double batch of this, it’s a little too much and I can taste it sometimes. I will add this into the notes. Thanks for bringing this up!

    2. 4 stars
      I agree! enjoyed the recipe, resulted in very light/fluffy pancakes but the baking soda and baking powder i think are a bit much. I also tasted and felt it on my teeth & tongue after tasting. I would reduce both amounts and play around with it.
      Great recipe and easy to adjust, dairy allergy in this house hold and using oat milk and oil instead of dairy worked perfectly fine.

  7. 5 stars
    By far the best pancakes I’ve made. I did not have buttermilk. I subbed with 1 cup milk, 1 cup half and half, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white vinegar. You can even go with a dash more sugar. Fantastic!!!

  8. 5 stars
    Truly, without a doubt after trying many recipes over the years, these ARE the best pancakes I have ever made! Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Ok, at 60 years old, I’ve eaten a lot of pancakes, and these are among the best!  I made 1/2 the recipe and got 7 great cakes.  We will have these again!

    I always seem to need to adjust things and this was no different.  I added about a teaspoon of vanilla and instead of buttermilk…used 2% milk with 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream & vinegar.  Was sure to not over-mix, left very lumpy and that was ok!

    Cakes had an amazing flavor 

    1. 5 stars
      I never leave comments on recipes but this one deserves a huge shout out. My husband said several times that these were the best pancakes he ever had.

  10. 5 stars
    These are legitimately the MOST AMAZING pancakes ever. I’ve made them so many times for so many people and all of my friends amongst a group of very foodie gourmet snobs agree lol.

    Sadly, I think I may have to entirely cut out gluten and in thinking of all the things I’d miss most, these came to mind. What are your thoughts on making these with alternative flours? Ever tried? 

    1. Hi Nina! This recipe hasn’t been tested with alternative flours, but if you give it a try, let us know what you did and how it turned out!

  11. 5 stars
    I have found that plain kiefer is the best substitute for butter milk.  
    I never have buttermilk on hand but do like kiefer on cereal, etc.
    Kiefer lasts a long time in the refrigerator .
    Made your pancake recipe with the kiefer substitute…excellent.

  12. 5 stars
    I’ve been making these pancakes for the last year and they are by far the best ever! Do not tweak this perfect recipe!!!

  13. The vinegar thickens the milk. It works. Will try these soon once as written (no bacon grease) and once substituting melted frozen custard or melted ice cream for most of the regular milk.

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